Day 3 Paris - Deux femmes exploring, hot chocolate and another dinner in Montmartre
By day 3 I was finally starting to acclimate to my new Paris timezone.
Since there wasn’t a ton on the agenda, Tiffany and I decided to head out on our own in search of a bright pink bakery. We headed over to the 7th and had a quick breakfast at a Boulangerie as the rain spattered on and off through the open door before discovering a magical flower shop that seemed straight out of an Anthroplogie catalog. The shopkeeper spoke not a word of English so we just stood in awe of the giant, colorful blooms that stretched across the stone walls and ceiling as the woman behind a large arrangement of pink roses picked and prodded with a phone between her shoulder exasperatedly explaining directions to someone in french.
It was a bit overcast at this point in the day, but we continued on to the pink bakery, still bright and cheery even under the dismal sky. The delicious items beckoning caught our attention but we snapped a few photos, debated getting yet ANOTHER pain au chocolat and insstead decided to make our way towards the Eiffel Tower and take in the rest of the 7th on foot.
Along the way we chatted, took tons of pictures and tried to absorb as much as we possibly could from the city. The beautiful buildings, colorful front doors and stylish masses surrounding us. The sweet smell of patisseries and the fragrance of flower markets on each corner. The further we walked the more the city came alive. Going from a relatively quiet, rain-soaked street to the bustling metropolis just on the outskirts of the Eiffel tower.
We ended up popping into a chocolate shop and grabbing a couple meringues that were the size of our faces, pistachio and raspberry (naturally). Then grabbed an UBER over to Angelinas for hot chocolate.
We strolled around with our rich, dark hot chocolate until we made it to Palais Royale then walked the freshly blooming gardens and watched the park goers stroll along the manicured tree lines until we got hungry. We decided to grab a small lunch on the plaza next to the Louvre as a symphony played us all of the best classical songs that we indulged in simultaneously with our quiche Lorraine.
Having satisfied our cravings we UBERed back to the hotel where I changed for some updated headshots, arranged my flowers and set the table and then made plans for dinner.
Tiffany and I had a yearning to go back to Montmartre, but wanted to avoid the never-ending spiral staircase that is the Montmartre metro stairwell so after laying on the bed scouring Yelp reviews, trip advisor and a failed attempt to call for a reservation we called an UBER and made our way over
On the ride over, Tiffany and I got into deep, heartfelt (literally) tear-jerking conversations. I'm still curious what our UBER driver thought of "zese crazee american girls" in the back seat. But it was a cathartic experience for us both and so we were dropped off on a side street, and after drying our tears, dabbing our makeup we climbed up the hill arm in arm.
The restaurant, Chez Toinette, didn’t open until 7pm so we had some time to kill. I was hard-pressed on finding some cute loafers and while I couldn’t locate the boutique I loved, we found a tiny little hole in the wall again off the busy street that had the prettiest sage green wrap dress and the sweetest shop owner who helped us and complimented every thing I tried on (like I needed a reason to be inspired to buy/do anything in Paris).
We left the shop still waiting for 7, and stopped into a cute little teal and gold cafe called La Bossue for a spot of espresso and sat out at the sidewalk cafe table sipping and chatting, grabbed some eclairs from Christophe Adam.
When we arrived there was a guy smoking a cigarette out on the stoop next door as we perused the menu on the door and I snapped a photo of an octopus on a door across the street. As soon as the clock struck 7, we stepped inside the dark subterranean room draped in black and red. It looks like we were the first ones to arrive and the woman sat us promptly with a basket of baguette and carafe of water.
We sat, looking around at the space. Quaint enough. The speckled tile floor almost resembling a leopard print from far away. Red walls, simple black tables and chairs. As unremarkable as it comes in Paris. There was no pomp and circumstance here. We were clearly at a place that didn't care about the frills. But, we found it hidden on Tripadvisor and rated as one of the best "hole in the wall" spots near Montmartre and judging by the lack of tourists that walked down the street, let alone peered down the street level window into the small space was indicative of that truth.
The waitress came over and took our order. She recommended a bottle of red that would compliment both Tiffanys fish and my beef bourguignon and we sat happily munching away at our fresh french bread chatting about business, life, love and the french.
When the door to the restaurant opened again it was the same guy, cloaked in a black hoodie who was just next door smoking a cigarette. He stopped at the coat rack, unzipped his hoodie and revealed his chefs coat as he turned around. He smiled at us in a thick french accent and while smoothing down his clothes said in a matter of fact way, “I am ze chef”. We giggled and watched him traipse into the kitchen ready to work some magic. We shared a knowing smile, inhaled our appetizers, and restated over and over again how happy we were that we made the decision to stop here for dinner. When my beef bourguignon arrived, I cried a few happy tears. Tiffany felt similar about her fish and we again regaled in the fact that this restaurant, evening activity and overall choice for the day was absolutely spot on.
As the restaurant filled up, we joked and laughed over what was surely the most perfect bottle of wine and meal that I had ever experienced and watched as the restaurant slowly filled up with french speaking groups-lovers, families and friends.
Towards the end, we grabbed the chefs attention, threw glowing reviews at him and told him how happy we were to have stopped in and he suggested the French toast dessert. I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed as I really would have loved the creme brûlée, but after it came (we split it because we were already so full we hated ourselves) it was another moment of serendipitous bliss that we laughed and chatted about until we physically were unable to consume another thing and worried about putting our coats back on to make our way back to the street.
We stumbled out of the restaurant, high on another bottle of great French wine, the most amazing food we had eaten at this point and the magical glow that seems to surround you when being in Montmartre.
It was late now and there was a crowd standing outside of a building, cheering and applauding every time a person would trickle out of the side door like a celebrity leaving a concert for the tour bus, a peculiar thing but we didn't stop to see it play out. We made our way back up to walk along the streets, watching the drunk Parisians smoking and laughing and decided to call it a night and grab an UBER back.
While we were waiting for Jimmy, our UBER on an empty side-street, I heard music spilling out from a 4th floor apartment party. I was entranced. Someone went to the window for a cigarette and in my awfully broken French, I called out asking who the artist was. There was a quorum between the party guests, another guest who was curious as to who he was talking to and who I assume was the hostess of the party. They called back a name that I quickly searched and downloaded on Spotify. The UBER was waiting so I shouted a “merci!” And disappeared into the car as they laughed and went back in to their festivities.
Jimmy, our UBER driver, was the perfect accompaniment to our magical evening. He was a sweet, older man, who understood our slightly inebriated, possibly delirious state and was kind and sweet, turning up the volume on the radio when we heard a song we knew and loved. He also pointed out landmarks and buildings and taught us about various things he knew in the city. He drove carefully and there was a warm demeanor about him that made it feel like a riotous weekend with your friends bookended by your parents picking you up and lulling you to sleep in the car ride home.
We arrived back at our hotel, sad that the evening was ending but knowing we had an early wakeup call the next day that we couldn’t miss so exasperatedly said goodnight, stumbled into our rooms and felt into a deep sleep that is only possible with the right amount of Parisian magic.